Thursday, 5 December 2013

Are you a Christmas Christian, or an Easter Christian?

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I acknowledge that of course Easter is the main feast of the Christian year, but I still prefer Christmas.

When I became a Christian I fully expected that Easter would get more and more important to me and overtake Christmas, but it hasn't happened - and I still feel a much greater building of expectation during the weeks leading towards Christmas, which I also had before I was a Christian.

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I have, indeed, some kind of residual grudge against Easter which dates from childhood when the gift of a chocolate egg did not begin to compete with the delights of Christmas - which also included the better-than-Easter-egg delights of the 'selection box' and 'smokers set' (chocolate pipe and cigars, candy cigarettes!).

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For a start, I am permanently annoyed that Easter is a moveable feast: this seems wrong and absurd.

It surely made no sense for the ancient church to celebrate its main feast in a way which could only be calculated by a very advanced knowledge of astronomy and mathematics - advanced knowledge which actually did not exist!

It took several hundred years before any reasonably accurate method of predicting Easter was discovered (mostly by the Venerable Bede - who died 735) - and the prediction of Eater was required to time the preceding Lent fast and special days.

Up to then Easter (the premier Christian celebration, remember) was celebrated at a variety of times in different places, and among different groups in the same place; and this itself led then (and indeed afterwards) to infighting, schisms, and inter-denominational hostilities both temporary and permanent - and still continuing.

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I just find this annoying and silly, indeed shocking - some kind of ancient bureaucratically-minded-bureaucracy must have been responsible for setting the church off down this wrong path - only a committee could make the impossible compulsory.

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Obviously, Easter should have been fixed on a certain annual date - if it was necessary to predict; or else if it really must be linked to lunar cycles (to reflect the Jewish passover - but why?), then the church should have dispensed with the rigidly numerically timed advance program leading-up to Easter.

Or something... almost anything would be preferable to what they actually came-up-with.

Anyway, for whatever reason, I retain this grudge against Easter; and would not even put it as second favourite among the annual feasts - that would be Pentecost/ Whit Sunday.

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